clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NC State 71 - Syracuse 57: 5 Big Takeaways

SU's season ended with a loss. Here's what we learned.

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange fell to the North Carolina State Wolfpack, 71-57, in their season finale on Saturday. Here are five takeaways:

1. Christmas gets sent off with a loss.

Rakeem Christmas played his last game with Syracuse yesterday, finishing with 15 points and 12 rebounds -- giving him his 12th double-double of the season. In 31 games, he averaged 17.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game in 2014-15. It's been a tough campaign for Syracuse, but Christmas had an incredible season, though it's unfortunate he finished his collegiate career with three straight losses. Next up for the center: the NBA.

2. Did the NCAA news affect Syracuse's play?

On Friday, the NCAA hit Syracuse's men's basketball program with a boatload of sanctions as a result of an eight-year investigation into the school's athletic department.

On Saturday, the Orange shot 32.3 percent from the field and were blown out of the water by the Wolfpack after taking a 25-17 lead in the first half. It's impossible to know if the Syracuse players were impacted by the announcement of the sanctions, but Michael Gbinije did remark that it wasn't easy to play after learning the news. Either way, it's unfortunate that the NCAA couldn't at least have waited until Monday, after SU's season had finished, to come down.

3. Roberson impresses.

In an otherwise putrid performance from the Orange, Tyler Roberson shined in Saturday's loss. He had 16 points and 12 rebounds, marking the sixth time this season that he's achieved a double-double. Roberson had a slow start to the season, even finding himself in head coach Jim Boehem's doghouse at times, but he finished strongly. The sophomore averaged 12 points and 7.9 rebounds per game over SU's final seven games. Syracuse can only hope that that success carries over into next season.

4. Cooney, Joseph struggle.

Trevor Cooney and Kaleb Joseph, Syracuse's two starting guards, each had difficulty doing much of anything yesterday. The duo combined to shoot just 4-of-16 from the field and 2-of-9 from 3-point range. It marked the end to an up-and-down season for each, as Cooney shot the ball inconsistently throughout the year while Joseph made a seemingly endless amount of freshman mistakes. Especially in the case of Joseph, there is plenty of room for improvement. Hopefully that's what this offseason brings.

5. Until next year...

Obviously, after yesterday's game, the 2014-15 Syracuse men's basketball season is now in the books. It was a mostly forgettable season, with SU failing to reach 20 wins for the first time since 1996-97 (or, technically, for the first time since 2011-12, since the wins from that season are now vacated). And because Syracuse self-imposed a 2015 postseason ban on Feb. 4, there will also be no NCAA Tournament for the Orange, nor will there even be an ACC Tournament.

There were positive moments this season. Syracuse beat Louisville and won at Notre Dame. Christmas had arguably one of the best seasons that any Syracuse player has ever had. Gbinije took a giant step forward, emerging as a ultra-reliable player. Still, most Orange fans will have little trouble saying goodbye to the 2014-15 season. And fortunately for those fans, next season should be much, much better.